The racism on Big Brother is having something of an opposite affect on the show than it did with Paula Deen. Deen, who lied about “saying the N-word once 30 years ago” when she used it liberally and used the controversy to obfuscate her storied history of institutionalised racism, was fired from almost all her endorsements as sponsors feared association would negatively impact their businesses. CBS, however, eventually made the decision to air the bigotry rampant on its show and is making money hand over fist as the ratings soar. The worst of the racists have already been fired, admittedly, but there’s nothing like the individual backlash there (rightly) was for Deen.
In any case, the comments are many and brutal. There’s so much racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and homophobia it merited a Bigotry Supercut spanning 15 minutes. Mostly littered with comments by Aaryn “Nation” Gries and GinaMarie Zimmerman, both of whom have been fired by their employers, and Spencer Clawson whose mother tells TMZ her nasty, bigoted son is a good boy really. Donna Clawson says “Spencer really is a great guy. This is not a guy that’s a bigot or a racist. And he’s not that way at home. He’s a great guy.” She adds, her grown son is just following the group, ”If you’re in a group, you go along with the group talk and that is what is happening with him.” She adds, “This is a reality show. The purpose of the show is scheming behind each other’s backs. Spencer might not be perfect but he’s my son. All those kids are somebody’s child. He’s a good guy.”
Those contestants, whose comments often elicit laughs from the other housemates, made comments including anti-Asian remarks about a fellow contestant, including comments about her eyes, and stereotypes about doing nails and making rice.
The host of the show, Julie Chen, is Asian though. And as such, viewers have been bombarding Chen’s social media, demanding a response. Chen used The Talk to get her side across, and revealed it’s been upsetting her a lot.
“When I first heard found out that Aaryn [Gries], who is a 22-year-old girl, made anti-gay, anti-black and anti-Asian comments, I have to be honest, the Asian ones hit me the most. I heard about her describing Asians as ‘squinty-eyed’ and ‘go make a bowl of rice,’ ” Chen said on Monday’s episode.
“It stung,” Chen continued. “I took it personally; I’m a human being. The really sad part was it took me back to the ’70s when I was growing up in Queens and when I was 7 years old being bullied being called a chink and people pulling their eyes. But it took me back so many years and I thought to myself: Wow I haven’t heard comments like that. The year is 2013 … and then I felt ignorant. Wow, there are people who still live in this country who feel that way and act that way. Yes, there is. Yes, there is. And afterward, it just made me sad because she’s 22 and she’s college-educated. I feel like it’s good for people to see it and let these people deal with these consequences when they get out of the house.”